January's Birthstone- The Garnet

Garnets as a group are relatively common in highly metamorphosed rocks and in some igneous formations. They form under the high temperatures and/or pressures that those types of rocks must endure. Garnets can be used by geologists as a gauge of how much temperature and pressure the rock has endured.
 As a gemstone, garnets possess high indices of refraction, are hard enough, have pretty colors, are wonderfully transparent, lack cleavage and are durable; thus making good candidates for gemstones. Garnets are greatly variable in colors and varieties,and many of these are both rare and beautiful, producing genuinely precious gemstones. Some garnets are truly unique in the mineral kingdom and have much to offer as both gemstones and mineral specimens.


The gemstone Garnet is the official birthstone for January as adopted by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912. It is also the stone for the Zodiac sign Aquarius.

Garnet may be given as a gem on the 2nd and 6th wedding anniversary.

Garnet occurs in every color except blue and most varieties are named for their color. Rhodolite is a purplish red, hessonite is the name for an orange, cinnamon, or pinkish variety. Tsavorite is the name given to dark green grossularite. Uvarovite and demantoid are also green varieties.


Pyrope garnets are purplish red, orangy red, crimson, or dark red. Spessartite garnets range from yellow and orange through red to reddish brown to dark black/brown. Color change garnets exhibit a "alexandrite-like" effect when viewed in natural light or artificial lighting.

Garnet's powers include healing, strength, and protection and it is often worn to relieve inflammations of the skin. It is also believed to regulate the heart and blood flow and aid in curing depression. In earlier times, garnets were exchanged as gifts between friends to demonstrate their affection for each other and to insure that they meet again.

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